Official media have remained secretive about the death toll from the Tangshan tragedy, and officials, hospital workers and even teachers have refused to say much about the incident. Although state newspapers and television have reported on the poisoning, no report has specified or even attempted to estimate the number killed. Most state papers, even the relatively outspoken ones, only carried the Xinhua report that said 'a lot of people were killed', without giving a specific number. The agency reported a few hours after the outbreak that at least 41 people had been killed, but then retracted the report. Reports on state media highlighted only the rescue efforts, such as a team of 35 experts being despatched to hospitals. A teacher at the Zuochang Secondary School, which several dozen of the poisoned students attended, was interrupted by an unidentified man on another telephone line when she was being interviewed by phone yesterday. Police and hospital workers all declined to comment. Mainland online chat rooms, even the chat room of the official People's Daily Web site, were swamped with messages from angry Internet surfers who called for the truth to be revealed, particularly basic information such as the death toll. Many also complained that their messages were being deleted by the chat-room operators. 'What is the implication of the limited coverage of the Nanjing poisoning incident?' a message posted on the People's Daily Web site asked. 'It implies that it is time to talk about politics, overall well-being [of the big situation], and stability of the country,' another surfer responded.